MISSOULA -- After shooting 23 percent from the field in the first half, the Montana Lady Griz couldn't come back against Portland State as the Vikings handed the Lady Griz their first road loss, 78-65, in Big Sky Conference play.
From the start, PSU was finding success both down low and from beyond the arc. The Vikings began the game on a 13-4 scoring run until McKenzie Johnston hit a big 3-pointer to pull Montana within seven.
Montana went 5 for 22 (22.7 percent) from the field and 1 for 6 (16.7 percent) from beyond the arc in the first quarter. However, in the final minutes of the first, a nice heads-up steal from Madi Schoening led to a fast-break bucket from Taylor Goligoski to make it 17-13.
By the end of first half, not much changed and the Lady Griz were outscored by the Vikings, 39-22. The Lady Griz went 8 for 25 (22.9 percent) shooting from the field and 2 for 10 (20 percent) from 3-point range. PSU shot 48 percent from the field and went 4 for 11 (36.4 percent) from beyond the arc.
With 14 seconds left in the first half, Portland State took a 20-point lead. Two times the rest of the game, Montana climbed back within four points of the Vikings but could never take the lead.
In the end, Portland State hit crucial free throws and ran the clock down to hand Montana its first road conference loss of the season.
Johnston led the way for the Lady Griz, finishing with 16 points on 5 of 14 from the field and 4 of 9 from beyond the arc. She also finished with a team-high six assists. Redshirt junior Madi Schoening had a solid game off the bench, scoring 15 points on 4 for 8 from the field, but she was just 6 for 11 from the free throw line. Schoening also pulled down 10 boards to finish with a double-double, her first of the season. No other Lady Griz scored more than eight points.
For the Vikings, they did most of their damage on the interior. Tatiana Streun was nearly impossible to stop all night as she finished shooting 10 for 14 from the field and 10 for 13 from the line, totaling a game-high 30 points. As a team, Portland State finished 23 for 45 (46.9 percent) from the field and 4 for 17 (23.5 percent) from 3-point range, while cashing in on 28 of 31 free throws.
Montana as a team had one of its worst shooting performances in conference play thus far. The Lady Griz ended the night shooting 21 for 75 (28.0 percent) from the field, 8 for 28 (28.6) from beyond the arc and 15 for 20 (75 percent) from the line.
With the loss, Montana moves to 4-2 in Big Sky Conference play. The Lady Griz will look to bounce back on Jan. 18 on the road against Idaho. With the win Portland State moves to 3-3 in the conference. The Vikings next take on Idaho State on the road on Saturday.